Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stripping Tony Curtis

In 1951, when Tony Curtis was sent on a nation-wide publicity tour to promote his first starring vehicle, he was all but totally disrobed by screaming fans in each city he visited (Parish & Stanke, "The Swashbucklers," Arlington House Publishers, 1976). His studio's response: to dress him in break-away suits so that his fans could tear his clothes off more easily.

Somehow this anecdote sums up Tony Curtis's screen persona: the sexy opportunist. Unlike the standard male movie idol who is oblivious to his own attractivenss, Tony Curtis's characters know they are irresistable, and trade on that fact, pulling out all the stops to manipulate and seduce (figuratively, if not literally) both sexes.

There is often plenty of homoerotic subtext in his films, between him and such male costars as Burt Lancaster (for example, in "Sweet Smell of Success" and "Trapeze"), Laurence Olivier (in "Spartacus"), and Gilbert Roland (in "Midnight Story"). Above, slave Tony gives Laurence a bath in "Spartacus" (1960). Below, Tony and Burt in "Trapeze."

In the book "The Swashbucklers" (1976), biographers Parish and Stanke describe Tony Curtis's gowing up in poverty on the streets of New York, getting his spending money "by working for his father, by shining shoes, by selling newspapers, and by stealing" (p. 573). They go on to note that because of his exceptionally good looks, he was also subject to sexual propositions from older males. I can't help but wonder whether the scurrilous youth ever capitalized on those advances as well....


  1. Ah, nice.....Do you know what film the first pic is from?

  2. What a handsome man! I love Spartacus and remember that scene well. I need to look up some of his other movies, I'd say. I think I will always remember him in Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant. I've seen that movie way too many times. If I had been at one of his meet-and-greets, I would have been right there ripping his clothes off too.


  3. Love Tony Curtis, he was such an amazing man and he look good aven as he got older. i couldn't get enough of him. Thank you for that post man


  4. Tony Curtis is just another one of those men that you can not get out of your head, he is sexy and muscular with wonderful alluring looks that make you swoon all over the place,I always loved his movies and I too loved the man touching with other sexy men as you have meentioned.

  5. Hi FelchingPisser, that pic is from "Prince Who Was a Thief" (1951), his first starring vehicle.

  6. Hi Ace, "Operation Petticoat" is a kind of silly sounding title that belies a sophisticated and very funny film - I love it too.

  7. Hi Wally, I agree you can never get too much of Tony Curtis.

  8. Oh yes I remember him in Spartacus. Stunning.

    1. Hi truthspew, thanks for writing in.